The Aluminum Association, Arlington, Virginia, has announced that its Trade Enforcement Working Group has filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions charging that unfairly traded imports of certain aluminum foil from China are causing material injury to the domestic aluminum industry. According to The Aluminum Association, the action is part of the industry’s broad trade strategy to address Chinese overcapacity throughout the value chain.
“Today’s action marks the first time The Aluminum Association has filed unfair trade cases on behalf of its members in its nearly 85-year history,” says Heidi Brock, president and CEO of The Aluminum Association. “This unprecedented action reflects both the intensive injury being suffered by U.S. aluminum foil producers and our commitment to ensuring that trade laws are enforced to create a level playing field for domestic producers.”
The Aluminum Association says anti-dumping margins alleged by the domestic industry range from 38 percent to more than 134 percent of the value of the imported aluminum foil. The domestic industry’s countervailing duty petition claims that Chinese producers benefit from 27 separate government subsidy programs.
The petitions were filed concurrently with the United States Department of Commerce and the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) and apply to aluminum foil.
The domestic industry says it filed its petitions for relief in response to large and increasing volumes of low-priced imports of aluminum foil from China that have injured U.S. producers. Twelve years ago, U.S. production accounted for about 84 percent of all domestic aluminum foil demand; today, that figure has dropped to 69 percent. At the same time, Chinese imports grew from essentially 0 percent of the total U.S. aluminum foil market in 2004 to 22 percent of the market today. Aluminum foil imports from China have grown by nearly 40 percent since 2014. In 2016, Chinese products accounted for about 71 percent of the total U.S. aluminum foil imports.
“Surging imports of unfairly low-priced aluminum foil from China have devastated pricing in the U.S. market and caused severe injury to the domestic industry,” adds John Herrmann, of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, the petitioner’s trade counsel. “The domestic industry looks forward to the opportunity to present its case to the Commerce Department and USITC to obtain relief from unfairly traded imports from China and to restore fair competition in the U.S. market.”
Anti-dumping duties are intended to offset the amount by which a product is sold at less than fair value in the United States. Estimated duties in the amount of the dumping are collected from importers at the time of importation. Countervailing duties are intended to offset unfair subsidies that are provided by foreign governments and benefit the production of a good.
The USITC, an independent agency, will determine whether imports of aluminum foil from China are a cause of, or threaten, material injury to the domestic industry.
Because of the filing of the petitions, the Commerce Department will determine whether to initiate the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations within 20 days and the USITC will reach a preliminary determination of material injury or threat of material injury within 45 days. The entire investigative process will take about one year, with final determinations of dumping, subsidization and injury likely occurring in the first quarter of 2018, The Aluminum Association says.
The aluminum foil subject to the unfair trade petitions includes all imports from China of aluminum foil that is less than 0.2 millimeters in thickness (less than 0.0078 inches) in reels weighing more than 25 pounds and that is not backed, etched for use in capacitors or cut to shape.